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The Beverly

Reinventing the feel: Restaurateurs give Valley bars facelifts

Facelifts may be a dime a dozen in Scottsdale, but Genuine Concepts have brought the trend to the bar scene.

The team behind The Vig, Little Woody and most recently, The King, are hoping to bring their experience to the property formerly known as Mabel’s on Main, and are transforming the Scottsdale Arts District space into a bustling barroom, reminiscent of those found in partner Tucker Woodbury’s hometown of Beverly, Mass.

Just off the heels of the of the transformation of Old Town’s The King, a once aptly named honky-tonk concept called The Western- turned thriving bar & arcade, the Genuine Concepts team is readying for the same kind of success with the upcoming opening of The Beverly, Aug. 27.

“What these guys have been able to do at underperforming Western, was nothing short of astonishing,” said Rich Heider, bar manager and mixology guru. “Their ability to take a struggling operation, re-concept and transform the space into something that resonates with the clientele in the area is pretty remarkable.”

Part of their success is recognizing the need for change in some of their establishments. Woodbury says,  “Knowing when to throw in the bar towel was important and humbling. We’re fortunate enough to have had our share of successful places like The Vig and The Little Woody but we’re also smart enough to recognize when a concept like The Western isn’t working and reinvent it.

“You can’t let pride get in the way of running a business, or there won’t be a business to run,” Woodbury said. “If a particular concept isn’t working in a particular space, you have to ask yourself why, and take the steps to fix it. The best way to keep a space from closing is to ask the hard questions, and then modify the property accordingly.”

And that’s just what Genuine Concepts has done with The Beverly, which replaces the swanky, sophisticated speakeasy-style digs of Mabel’s, with a more casual and approachable classic barroom concept that appeals to a broader audience. Gone is tableside bottle service, and although still beautifully appointed, exclusivity has been replaced by a more inclusive, laid back feel, with an emphasis on classic cocktails and new and interesting small plate food offerings by Executive Chef Jorge Gomez .

“I’ve been in my fair share of bars in the Valley, and there’s truly nothing like The Beverly anywhere in the area,” Heider said. “Mabel’s had always been a gorgeous venue, and the subtle changes made by these guys has only enhanced what was already there.”

Crescent Ballroom

Musicians Begin Howling At The Crescent Ballroom

For those looking to drink and dance rather than drink and drive, consider the Crescent Ballroom, located off the Van Buren and Central Ave. light rail stop in downtown Phoenix — also walking distance from Arizona State University’s Downtown Phoenix Campus.

Owner Charlie Levy considers the location ideal himself. “Opening up my own music venue is something I’ve always wanted to do, but it wasn’t until I stumbled upon this place that I thought ‘this is it.’ ”

Along with the crowd-friendly location, the ballroom, which can accommodate about 500 people, has historical significance that ultimately hooked Levy. The 7,000 sq. foot space, built in 1917, was once the F.L Hart Garage for cars along the Dixie Overland Highway, America’s only coast-to-coast highway, now known as U.S. Highway 80. This building has been here to watch Phoenix transform from a farm-heavy community to a pavement-heavy metropolis.

Although Levy is originally from Louisiana, he himself has watched Phoenix transform before his very eyes; he says it’s “unbelievable” how exponentially Phoenix is growing.

While attending ASU, Levy started his work in the field as a concert director for the student government and then briefly left school to work as a production assistant and talent buyer for a local production company, the Evening Star. He left the Evening Star to go back to school, and has since ventured on his own, leading to the creation of the Crescent.Crescent Ballroom

Crescent hosts local favorites such as Black Carl and Courtney Marie Andrews, as well as a variety of nationally known singers/songwriters in every genre, including Deer Tick (indie-folk), Rachael Yamagata (blues-rock) and Das Racist (alt. hip-hop). And Crescent Ballroom doesn’t have a booking policy.

“We love good music and host a wide range of singers and songwriters, from R&B to pop — there’s something for everyone,” Levy says.

The concert hall does not stand alone, however. There is also a lounge with full-bar service and free, live music everyday, as well as the option to order food from its restaurant, Cocina 10.

Cocina 10 is located within the ballroom, and while the menu is still in progress, the cuisine will be “Mexican-accented road food,” Levy says. He assembled his two favorite chefs from the Valley, Chris Bianco of Pizzeria Bianco and Doug Robson of Gallo Blanco, and he also teamed up with Tucker Woodbury, owner of the Rocking Horse and the Vig in Arcadia, to make the Crescent all it could be. Woodbury has had a long-time background in night life and eateries, especially in the Phoenix area.

Levy’s goal? “To have a place for people to come and enjoy live music, and for the artists to also have a great night and experience.”

For more information and for a calendar of upcoming concerts, visit the Crescent Ballroom’s website.

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If  You Go: Crescent Ballroom

308 N. 2nd Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85003
Parking is $5; exact change is a must.